By Don Vanderveen
At Lake Doster
Golf Club, what you see is what you get.
And then some.
What you will see is a well groomed and
scenic golf course. What you get is a
challenging, but honest round of golf.
What you will see is a golf course that
measures about 6,500 yards from tee to
green. What you will get is a whole lot
see the wind. But you may get that, too.
It is a challenging golf course, but it’s
not because the golf course is tricked up,” says
Tim Hartson of Par-5 Group, which owns Lake Doster. “There
aren’t any blind shots or dirt moved to create
a pond, it’s all right in front of you.”
The golf course at Lake Doster has an up north
resort-type feel to it. It cuts through the woods
and no two holes run parallel to each other.
On the front nine, you don’t see anybody
other than the group in front of you or in back
of you,” Hartson says. “You get the
resort feeling of being isolated with your group
Lake Doster — which plays 6,540 yards from
the blue tees and 6,112 from the whites — is
a very challenging golf course for the good player
and also a very challenging for the average player.
Challenging, yet fair.
If you hit the ball where it’s supposed to
be hit, it is very, very fair because there is
plenty of room out there,” Hartson said. “But
if you do stray, you can get yourself into some
awful tough positions.”
Lake Doster is a golf course that requires
the use of practically every club in the bag.
You’ll have to hit long irons, you’ll
have to hit short irons and you’ll have to
hit a fairway wood at some point,” Hartson
said. “That, to a certain degree, lends to
part of the appeal to the golf course. It’s
not like a course where you hit a driver or 3-wood
off the tee and 8- or 9-iron to the green. The
par-3s are not just ordinary 7-iron off the tees,
The golf course was constructed in the late
1960s and built primarily on the contour
of the land
that existed. Not a lot of dirt was moved
during construction. As a result, there is
a lot of
natural flow to the course. There is no artificial
giving Lake Doster a natural feel to it.
It turned out to be a great golf course,” Hartson
said. “It’s solid from the first tee
to the 18th green.”
Designed by architect Charlie Scott, Lake
Doster opened its first nine holes in 1967
other nine a year later. The Par-5 Group
the operation in 1988 and have made modest,
improvements while keeping the integrity
of the course intact.
Over the past two years, the hollow around
the No. 2 green has been raised to create
better strand of grass and meet USGA specifications.
Lake Doster’s signature hole — the
No. 3 Little Monster — was transformed into
a three-tiered tee area with rock walls around
it. The back of the green at No. 3 was extended
and bunkers around it raised to help with air circulation.
The “Little Monster” still has its
bite and remains one of the most intriguing golf
holes in West Michigan. This little 120-yard hole,
with a peninsula green surrounded by sand and water,
has been considered one of the toughest par-3s
in the state of Michigan because of its beauty-and-beast
mentality with dogwood trees that blossom during
the spring and flourish during the summer.
When you tee off down a 45-degree angle, you have
three landing areas,” says Hartson. “You’ll
hit either green, water or sand.”
No. 17 is known as bogey gulch, a par
4 that plays like a 5, where the tee
down into a
valley. The second shot must be properly
placed to have a shot at the uphill green.
On that second shot, you’ll either hit green,
or a bunker or a side hill that will knock you
out of bounds,” Hartson says.
It is a course that takes on different
demeanors, depending on which way the
wind blows. Lake
Doster is not stagnate.
A lot of our members make the comment that they
never play the same golf course twice and they
don’t get bored with it because of the way
it flows,” Hartson said.
The final three par 4 holes all play
over 400 yards from the blue tees
and two of
People will come out and play it and say that it
is the longest 6,400-yard course they’ve
ever played,” Hartson said. “It
plays more like 6,900 yards because
a couple par-5s are
just under 500 and at least two
will play well over 500 depending
on how the winds change.
And the wind always changes at Doster.”